Thoughts On Leadership

By newspaper537 / July 31, 2019 / News  Greater Park Hill Community Newsletter

It’s Time For Our Elected Officials To Up Their Game

By Brenda Morrison

For the GPHN

Given Denver’s rapid growth and strong economy, it’s both a blessing and curse to be in public leadership.

Unlike other communities, Denver is not facing budget cuts, structural deficits or unfunded pensions. Denver’s residents have been generous, approving bonds and tax increases in order to ensure that the city grows and maintains services, continues to provide parks and open space, and invests in behavioral health.

Yet the city is also facing rising home prices, traffic and congestion, and a rapidly growing homeless population.

These issues are going to demand that all of us raise our game. And that must begin with our elected officials.

Let me make it clear: I am asking our city leaders to embrace their responsibilities. That means both in tough and in good times.

I get it. It’s hard to balance diverse and often demanding constituencies, weighing current needs with those of the future, with your own personal values.

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THE PARK HILL GOLF COURSE SHOULD BE A PUBLIC PARK

 In a city nearing 700,000 people, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve, and grow our parks and recreational opportunities.”  Mayor Michael Hancock, 2017 State of the City Address

If not a golf course, THE PARK HILL GOLF COURSE LAND SHOULD BE A PUBLIC PARK

HERE’S WHY

A LAST OPPORTUNITY: The 155 acres of Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC) land, located on Colorado Blvd. between 35th and 40th Avenues, present one of the last opportunities in Denver to preserve a significant open space and create a large park without massive economic investment. In this increasingly densified city, smart public policy would not sacrifice this unique open space to housing and other development desires that must be strategically met elsewhere.

ZONING & A PERPETUAL CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROTECT THE LAND:
The PHGC land is currently zoned OS-B (Open Space-Recreation). Additionally, in 1997 the City of Denver paid the George W. Clayton Trust $2 million for a perpetual open space conservation easement on the land. Therefore, since 1997 the easement has prevented development on the land in perpetuity.

DENVER NEEDS MORE PARKLAND:
The 2019 Trust for Public Lands’ park score ranks Denver 29th of the 100 largest U. S. cities in parkland adequacy, down from a ranking of 13th in 2012. Denver ranks well below cities of comparable size, like Washington, D,C., Seattle, Portland and Boston.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD NEEDS A PARK:
Denver Department of Parks and Recreation describes the PHGC neighborhood as “park poor.” The Park Hill Golf Course land has much of the infrastructure, trees, and grass needed for a park, and the site is close to public transportation (RTD’s No. 40 bus and the new A-Line)

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